A psychoactive drug is a chemical substance which, when consumed, can affect the brain and nervous system, resulting in an altered mental state. The potent effects of psychoactive drugs have led some to be used as prescription medicines, while others have become some of the most widely prohibited illicit substances in the world. So what are the effects of drugs on the brain? What are the different types of psychoactive drug, and how do these various chemicals affect behaviour, consciousness, mood, perception, and the functioning of the brain?
Stimulants elevate alertness and moodShow moreShow less
Stimulant drugs affect the brain's internal communication and transmission processes, often targeting the dopamine reward pathway to cause feelings of euphoria.
Amphetamines cause behavioural changes by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain; specifically dopamine and norepinephrine, the main neurotransmitters involved in the brain's reward and executive function pathways. The increased release and accumulation of dopamine resulting from amphetamine use causes euphoric feelings and can affect sexual desire and cognitive and behavioral control. Elevated norepinephrine levels stimulate locomotion and motor control, giving amphetamines potential performance-enhancing effects that have been exploited by some athletes.
Amphetamines are highly addictive and the psychological and neurological impacts of withdrawal can be extreme, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, and an overwhelming urge to consume more amphetamines. Long-term use of amphetamines alters dopamine receptors and can result in both cognitive and motor impairments.
[P1] Amphetamines stimulate dopamine and norepinephrine levels to cause euphoria.